The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Business

January 4, 2013

’McDreamy’ says he beat Starbucks for coffee chain

SEATTLE — “Grey’s Anatomy” star Patrick Dempsey may be the real “McSteamy.”

The actor, who was dubbed “McDreamy” by fans of the hospital drama while his co-star affectionately has been called “McSteamy,” won a bankruptcy auction to buy Tully’s Coffee, a small coffee chain based in Seattle.

Among those Dempsey beat out is Tully’s much bigger Seattle neighbor, Starbucks Corp., which wanted to convert the cafes to its own brand.

Dempsey, whose company Global Baristas LLC plans to keep the Tully’s name, declared victory on the social media site Twitter with the message: “We met the green monster, looked her in the eye, and...SHE BLINKED! We got it! Thank you Seattle!

But Starbucks says not so fast. The chain, which has 18,000 cafes worldwide, said in a statement that a final determination on the winning bid won’t be made until a court hearing on Jan. 11. Starbucks said it’s in a “back-up” position” to buy 25 of the 47 Tully’s cafes, with another undisclosed bidder making an offer for the remainder.

The combined bids of Starbucks and the undisclosed bidder come to $10.6 million, above the $9.2 million Dempsey is offering to pay through his company.

Tully’s Coffee, which has more than 500 employees and locations in Washington and California, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October, citing lease obligations and underperforming stores. TC Global Inc., its parent company, said in a release Friday that it was “encouraged and excited” about Dempsey’s commitment to the chain.

“I’m thrilled that we won and I’m even more excited about saving Tully’s Coffee and its hundreds of jobs,” Dempsey said.  Seattle has a special place in Dempsey’s career — “Grey’s Anatomy” took place in a fictional hospital in the city.

Also in the running to buy Tully’s was Baristas Coffee, which operates a chain of drive-thru espresso stands featuring female employees in skimpy outfits.

 

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